The true and final Prologue to the Sandburn Trilogy

Really.

This is it people. I know my subscribers actually wonder how many prologues one book can have, but as I said before and still stick by, This one I want to be perfect.

This is the final and true prologue to the epic dystopian fantasy, the Sandburn Trilogy, and will be the one that I’ll be sending to either Untreed or Desert Breeze publishing, haven’t decided on that. Comments open, so COMMENT, people!

Thanks!

PROLOGUE

The hot desert air stings my eyes, and the metal links of the chain the jailers put around my ankles grow hot. There is sand in my hair and my eyes and a whole parched desert in my mouth, and it hurts to speak. I take a sharp, difficult breath, coughing as sand enters my nose and forces its way down my throat, then I lean to the ground and dry-heave, because there is really nothing left in me to throw up.

The landscape before me is stark, a strange coalescence of sand the color of molten gold and a blue sky flecked with the pristine white of clouds. There is nothing to see in either direction for miles, except the long, snaky black line of the railway tracks running across the desert- the last stretch of railway in the New Union, and an occasional odd-shaped rock slowly weathering to nothingness above the simmering sand, beneath the scorching eye of the summer sun.

A sort of mist rises in front of my eyes. How long am I meant to stand here?

It has been two hours since the large, slack-jawed jailer brought me up here and then left me to slowly get the worst sunburn possible. He had given me a look of boredom as if leaving a nineteen year old to boil in the desert was something he did everyday, but beneath his expressionless face and unsmiling lips I’d detected some kind of concern. This man, I remember, has been kind to me before…once even giving me a larger than protocol ration of water.

I am their youngest prisoner ever after all.

One, Two…swallow a little, breathe a little, Hala, I tell myself as minutes trickle away like shifting sand. The metal links keep growing hotter, and I wonder if they’ll come off or fuse molten into my skin when the jailers finally let me back into the coolness and comfort of the underground Frontier State Prison. On other days-days when I wasn’t slowly melting under the blazing sun- I would complain about the lack of humanity in the conditions of the prison. There are no beds to sleep in, rats scurry across the cells and bite us at night, filth and dirt render the stone of the floor invisible and the male jailers are constantly not very nice to the women. The one washroom we use is so dirtied and polluted that I bite my tongue to stop the waves of nausea crashing over me from taking me under whenever I go in for my allotted shower times. The water we get is brown.

Across the span of the desert is a thin dark line where the sky and the desert seem to touch and caress. I watch that line until my sight blurs and I have to blink to keep the sand out. Grains of it stick to my eyelashes and I itch to just brush it away but my arms are tied behind my back and I can’t move.

Minutes trickle into endless, eternal moments in which I’m just standing there in the heat and sand, my lips cracking dry and beginning to bleed, numbness in every pore of my body. The numbness is good in a way- I don’t feel the metal links against my skin, and I don’t feel the hot sand shifting and burning my feet. The numbness had however left my eyes to me and that is the worst part- all the discomfort and pain concentrating on what was the most vulnerable part of every human body. I close them for a minute and relish the feel of darkness settling in. Outside of the dark cave my eyelids had enclosed me in, the desert frets and snarls, sending heated wind that bites my skin all over my exposed forearms and legs. Inside, I feel a false sense of peace and comfort myself. It’s just like a sand burn-out that we have back at home, Hala. Just a sand burn-out. And you have to hang in there because you have to win.

I wonder if anyone would have lasted here as long as me. I know how the punishment works: the jailers tie you to a post and let the sun and sand take you in a chokehold and torment you until you pass out. When unconsciousness claims you as booty, they untie you and haul you back in and leave you to wake up so the scalding bruises can keep you awake and screaming the whole night.

In my case though, the unconsciousness never comes. I am what the boys in my village used to say: too tough for my own good.  And the fact that I come from the hottest inhabited area in the whole of the New Union of States seems to help. I smile, my cracked lips hurting as I do, while I go over what I had learned in geography so long ago when my mother could still make me go to school:        …Nahshon is popularly regarded the hottest inhabited area, lying a few kilometers south of the Uni Desert, on the left of the Desert Highway…  Temperatures sometimes reach record peaks in summer and plummet in winter… Nahshon is mostly unfertile and the basic occupation of its population of approx. 1000 is working in the nearby Frontier gold mine …Nahshon also trades traditional handicrafts like sand-paintings and dried flowers… and makes gold jewelry in smiths…Nearest City: Kelza, 23 kilometer…Nearest Town: Tozile, 14 kilometer… Governed by Power State since…

The words Power State leave me unable to remember the rest.

Hot bile rises in my throat but I swallow it back and lean forward on the ropes holding me against the posts, trying to think of what the textbooks never say about my hometown of Nahshon. How, for instance, the baskets strung from lamp-posts at the town centre are filled everyday with flowers that the women of the village coax into existence with fertilizers and care and sometimes even music. How no one goes hungry in Nahshon for a whole day if at least one house had bread for us. How sometimes sandstorms lock us in for days but the moment they break people crowd at the town centre to care for each other and rejoice being alive and unhurt. Most of us are poor, most of the men slaves in mines and desert land unyielding to the sweat of man and force of plough. Most boys stop school at eleven or twelve and then help their fathers, while most girls learn some skill that would give the town something to sell- painting, stitching, something like that. My mother paints with dyed sand, and I used to run a forge and turn gold, silver and bronze into pretty things for the rich women of Power State and Nesta State. The women of Frontier State themselves never wore gold or silver…for them I made copper things which my mother painted gold.

What was best associated with Nahshon was flatness.

Hard packed dirt grounds, punishingly blistering undulating dunes of sand, plane fields, and dreariness in the river beds dried to dehydration by relentless summer. The heat comes down around at seven in the morning and stays till midnight. Sometimes there is rain- but not enough, never enough to fill the dried out ponds or the parched throats of a population of near thousand. But that doesn’t matter to us as much as say, other things, like taxes and the inhumane rules imposed by our “rulers”: the Government at Power State.

I forget about the sand and the grit as memories of my hometown washes over me. It wasn’t much…but we made the best of it. My mother is a prime example of making the best of it. She is a painter, who doesn’t need brushes or expensive colors that come in bottles. All she needs is sand and indigo and orchil to make pretty things the Frontier Traders buy from her at low prices and sell to Power City. No one from the City ever comes out here- there is not much to see in a hot frontier town. But it is an odd feeling knowing that the picture of our flowers and our quaint little town circle, created by my mother’s hands while my little brother Whin and I watched over her shoulders, is on a wall in a house in the City, marveled at by many.

What use did I make of sand?

Sand is competition. Sand is the villain in the cruel game we adolescents of Nahshon invented.

My smile grows wider as I remember the last sand burn-out I’d been in before they stuck me in the prison. The sand had been a flaming hot furnace of fire licking at my blistering back through my thin flax blouse. We had been fighting over a tiny nugget of gold town genius Rusah had found while using his famed water-diviner to find some hidden stream in the desert. I had won, forcing my back into the same kind of numbness that I had just forced my legs into, keeping my eyes locked on the gold nugget in Rusah’s hand, watching the light reflect off it and glint in my moaning, heat-dazed competitors’ eyes. I had won, and that gold had been the only thing that had prevented my death sentence one month later.

Maybe I would be better off dead, I think in depression, as the numbness starts to wear off a little and my stomach craves for something to go into it so it could at least throw it all up.  I look behind me, and see the large jailer staring at me with his slanted eyes and eternally open mouth. In his face I see something strange: an approval of sorts. Perhaps he’s appraising my resilience to the sand and the heat and the daze. Or perhaps he’s just staring at me for no reason at all.

I watch him for a few minutes that again seem to trickle away like dust in a wind, hopeful of being freed, but he just stares and I finally give up, slumping again, thinking obscure thoughts about how the ropes were going to leave rope-burns on my chest because I was lying on them like this.

The crux with this punishment is that it gives you too much time to think of the pain you are in. I don’t really think of the physical pain but I do think of things that leave me feeling hollowed out inside like a rodent had gnawed away my stomach and intestines. A ball of pain ricochets behind my temples and pound against my forehead as I think of how I got here all over again. It still leaves me a miserable wreck, and I don’t need that now, so I chant in my mind One, Two…take a breath, Hala.

But now that I’ve given my mind a gap in the stream of thoughts I’d been running, it threw images my way: the letters, the arrests, the fight.

Take a breath and just suck it up, half-breed, that’s what you do when life screws you.

I gasp, and then I retch again, and of course nothing comes out. I moan; it comes out a faint sound because my lungs are full of sand and I can’t breathe anymore. There is no space for breath anymore.

Why did I do that? I wonder, because the last words I’d thought up weren’t mine. They belonged to someone whose sane voice I missed more than anything else right then. Someone who could calmly take anything thrown at him.

I  have been avoiding thinking of him at all, but now his voice is in my mind- his calm, assured voice, telling me what to do when life sucked, calling me that half-insult half-nickname “half-breed” , and suddenly everything just seems so bleak, so horrible.

I slump farther against my ropes, putting my full weight on it, ignoring the tightness in my chest where the ropes were cutting into my skin and choking me. My mouth parts and I want to scream bloody murder at the jailer standing down there as if oblivious to my torment, but I can’t. So I lie there and think of him- what he could be doing at the moment, at this endless moment when my whole body hurts and I want to die, and then it hurts so much, inside and outside, and I’m so angry that I fight.

I strain against those ropes and I yank and pull at the knot my hands are in, and I smash my head against the iron post they’ve tied me to. The jailer lets out a startled ‘What the heck-?’ and rings a bell to call to the other jailers, the sand and sun swirls and hurls their energies at me, wind bites my skin and memories and images overcrowd my brain- until the world cuts.

The world cuts and there is only blackness and then someone with an unfamiliar, drawling voice asks ‘Are you people out of your mind?!’ and then I fade.

Content Copyrighted.

All rights reserved by me.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COPY.

Check out the New Union Map here for clearer focus on the geography of the locations in Sandburn

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Two Today

Magic Room by Phatpuppy(click on pic to view his/her gallery)

The blog turns two today, just as Flintstones (which I adore) turns fifty. This year, like the previous one, I changed the entire layout and here I will be crediting a few artists and photographers who have contributed to the overall look of the blog:

Diva 1 by Luna2love(click for her gallery)

And as always Stephenie at http://www.obsidiandawn.com/ Cheers and love for all her brushes and vectors I used. My PS 7 still sucks, but her brushes make life a little better.
Thanks also to the donors at http://www.dafont.com for their free fonts, the ones used above are Rough Linen and Dancing Vampyrish.
Please comment on the artists’ works as well as mine own.
Happy Birthday to the blog!!
yayyy!!
TC
Goodnight
Ciao.

Bringing Sandburn To Life.

Slowly, Hala's world comes to clearer focus.

So it has been a while since I posted anything. Apologies to those of who who subscribed to my blog, I haven’t been feeding my blog quite as much as I usually do, but will do so in the future. As of now, life is going along the carved out smooth path…thanks to friends and family. Nearly done with editing on one book, nearly done with manuscript on the other…and I’ve finally decided to plunge in and start the epic trilogy I want to write so much. I had the pleasure to read The Dark Tower by Stephen King recently, and I realized that what I’m doing with SB is very  much what he did with The Dark Tower…waited for it, and waited for it because I want it to be perfect, that masterpiece, that lifechanging book every writer waits for. Well, this one is not going to probably make it to my expectations either, but at least the art part of it is…

I changed the story a little, for the benefit of those who have been following the story and the character development plans I posted earlier. Changed it to a darker, stranger version…and not just something that (once i finished reading Mockingjay) seemed to be a Hunger Games ripoff. (There is nothing really similar here, except the future tense usage…but my friends find that just that one element itself makes it a little similar to Panem and Katniss’s world.) Much as I love Hunger Games, I do not want to do a ripoff of Suzanne’s style or her story, so I set out to just change the way I was looking at SB trilogy. The result is this new and improved version I’m still typing out on my PC.

Sigh, at least the map is done.

Very slowly, Hala’s world is coming to clearer focus, and I hope it can burst into glorious life soon enough. As for now….at least there’s a map.:)

THE MAP

Map of Controlled States- copyrighted

Mockingjay Review

AMAZON :

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

MY REVIEW: (Spoiler Alert)

As with the last installment of every series, my excitement was enormous pre-release of Mockingjay. The book wasn’t just a last installment but the final book of my absolute favorite young adult series, written so masterfully and carried out with a Harry Potter like secrecy. Usually, I feel much like a deflated balloon after reading the last installment of any book. It’s disappointment…because the book isn’t as satisfying as what I wanted it to be. But for once- for ONCE- I am actually satisfied with the way Mockingjay turned out.

Perhaps the most important thing in the book for me at least was the fact that Katniss doesn’t change into some kind of super girl out on a noble cause even after she agrees to become the Mockingjay. She’s still the Katniss we know and love, the one who questions herself and her motives at intervals, the one who considers herself unworthy of so much attention and sometimes even finds herself doing things she couldn’t imagine herself doing.

From the start of the book, Collins takes us on a ride- I had my hands pressed to my mouth as surprises after surprises rained down….at the end of every chapter, it seemed, my heart would nearly burst with the suspense. From the rigor of District 13 and Coin’s domineering hand to the terrifying arena the Capitol becomes at the close of the book, I couldn’t take my eyes off my eReader’s screen.

We learn more about Gale, and I found his brutality rather surprising at times although I guessed he’d hate the Capitol enough to be thus antagonized.

The cruelty of the Capitol itself is relentless…at some parts of the book you wonder how it can possibly end in a note of hope or happiness…the vicious cruelty that is stripped bare for all of Panem to see itself makes this book, as some say, impossible to put down.

There is even more action in MJ than in HG or CF, the first two books, and some rather sweet and sensitive scenes…especially with Katniss trying to reconstruct Peeta’s memories after he’s “hijacked” and tortured by the capitol. (I found Peeta the most lovable, memorable and enigmatic character again, I just LOVE him) I found the thing with Katniss and the pearl (oh, the pearl!) even more endearing.

Collins touches some heartstrings with the Hanging Tree…what verse, and what wonderful concept! I also found myself cheering for Beetee and the rebels…with all that techy breaking into the Capitol’s network thing. And my best MJ moments? At the very end….at Prez Snow’s execution (J)…when Katniss says “If we burn, you burn with us”…when Peeta asks “You’re still protecting me, Real or not Real” and she says “Real”…the Hanging Tree…there are so many.

All in all, MJ was almost everything I wanted. Everything I dreamed the HG 3 would be (with the exception of how Gale turned out…people may argue with me, but I can’t forgive him. Only, I wished some people didn’t have to die…right after being lulled into some security. Poor Finnick. Poor Prim.)

….lots of action, breathlessness and a ride worth taking if you are thrill seekers extraordinary. Oh, and Team Peeta won.

Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, burns on.

Rating: 4.9/5.0 !

Team Peeta or Team Gale? A few more hours, and we’ll find out!

The most awaited book of the year is FINALLY coming out on August 24th…and that is JUST a few very, very long hours away. Hunger Games captured the fascination of thousands of teenagers and raised dystopian fiction to a new level with the first book in the trilogy itself, the Hunger Games.

Unlike Twilight and the other popular books these days, there’s nothing paranormal about Hunger Games but it has everything else: an awesome, butt-kicking heroine, Katniss Everdeen; the two equally wonderful guys- Peeta and Gale (shouts “I Am Team Peeta”!!) who divided the young adult population who read Suzanne Collins’ awesome book into two factions: Team Peeta and Team Gale; and of course there is lots and lots of action.

Perhaps the appeal of Hunger Games basically lies in the heroine. Katniss is addictive: she is not weak or submissive as I sometimes find Bella to be, neither is she cold and iron-hearted like some other heroines. From the very beginning of the book, when Katniss speaks of her father’s death and her mother’s subsequent withdrawal I loved her for her spunk and for being brave enough to do what no one else did in District 12.  I kept on loving her throughout both those books (read during the awful school final exams….so they have a special place in my heart in that way as well) because Collins never made Katniss superhuman and superstrong. I loved Katniss for her flaws. I loved Katniss because she is willing to kill to live, and is a little selfish at times (of course she gets angry at herself later on) and her ties with her family is something beautiful. I loved Katniss and knew she was going to be my favorite heroine from the moment she stood up and took Prim’s place to participate in the Hunger Games. When Panem saw her as their revolutionary , their Mockingjay, Collins completely convinced me. I exulted in the fact that the people of Panem loved Katniss.

Another great thing about Hunger Games is that Collins gives a not mushy and very sincere approach towards stuff like love. Cinna and his team is actually fun even when they make Katniss miserable, and sometimes even the Games itself becomes very exhilarating under Collins’ mighty pen.

But the greatest thing about HG?? You got it- the BOYS. Gale, the best friend (and in my opinion the much darker natured one) or Peeta ( I  have no words to describe him except as some kind of an angel- Peeta Mellark has to be my favorite character in all of fiction)…again, unlike Twilight, no one dominates in Katniss’ heart. She likes Peeta….but does she?  The same applies for Gale…

I personally hope Team Peeta wins. True. Some people consider him weak and helpless without Katniss….but is that really true? Peeta is no sweet little innocent, he can survive with his tongue alone. And I just can’t be Team Gale…we know nothing much about Gale except Katniss’ view of him…and Katniss’ view has been flawed.

A bookstore in Indiana apparently gave out copies of the book already…

READ ON…. SPOILER ALERT!

Buttercup is alive. People love this.

President Snow is sick. Hmmm….I wonder why I missed that twist.

Katniss does NOT die. (Yayyyy!!!)

Katniss does choose one of the guys. (Keeping my fingers crossed here….)

There is an Epilogue (everyone hopes and prays it’s not like the HP ending)

There are more of these floating around all over the place but I’m going to stop for now and hope and pray that I get Mockingjay fast enough…before all the spoilers come crashing down on me.

Happy Reading!

(Team Peeta rocks!)

Life is A Masquerade

I poured my heart out in pages, and it was my blood that was in my ink. I loved everything that was intertwined with writing: I loved the smell of ink, the rustle of paper, the dust that accumulated on the jackets of books. I loved creating: my characters were marionettes that danced on my string but like Pinocchio came into marvelous life at times….I loved them at those times. I strived to improve, day in and day out. It was the one thing that made me happy, the one thing I did with all my heart and soul and the one thing which nearly always alienated me from the rest of the world. It was a harmless, wonderful talent: that was what I’d thought.

I was wrong.

Life seemed like a masquerade ball most of the times: nearly always I hid under masks carefully created by society and put into frames of acceptability and normalcy. Nearly always tears filled my eyes as people walked in and out of my life seeing only the hard masks that society imposed on me, and not what I was or who I was. Nearly always only those kinds of people did walk into my life.

I made choices, not choices I’m proud of or choices I truly wanted for myself; not choices that I would have made if I had some kind of a free will of my own but choices. Those choices too were not my fault: deviating from that tightrope string pulled taut by a world of competition would surely mean death, so I kept to it. I was weak in mind, but worse, I was restricted by love.

To love some people in your life so much that their word is, as Macbeth said “the be-all and the end-all” is surely not a crime? But I felt it was a crime I was committing on me. Still I did not deviate and so I walk that one tightrope string with a pole in my slack fingers, the pole of my individuality which could slip any minute and twist my centre of gravity, and leave me for the dark abyss of uncertainty to swallow.

People did not like me without my masks so I wore them at all times. When I wanted to scream I smiled; when I wanted to tell someone I can’t I said I will. When I wished and prayed and hoped that some people would at least try to understand me I kept smiling and agreeing to all they said, even when those things they said about me was all wrong.

You know who I fear? I fear that voice in Poe’s Red Death, the voice in King’s Shining, the voice that screamed “Unmask, unmask, unmask”.

Because now I myself don’t know what I am under my iron masks. I don’t know if I am fragile enough beneath those masks of hard metal that I could break or crumble to dust. I don’t know if the pole I mentioned- yes, that pole of individuality- would snap along with my masks.

You know who I admire? People who can deviate from that tightrope string. Take a chance, and don’t give a damn if they are despised for not wearing their masks, as deemed right by the bleeding society’s norms.

I am not one of those people. I will never be.

So all I ask is a simple thing: understand me. Try to see through those carefully constructed masks I hide under. Because I am blood. I am flesh. I am bone.

I am just like you, and I deserve to be understood.

My passion deserves to be understood.

Aplomb and full-on Razzmatazz: Another Onam Arrives.

It is that time of the year for which every Malayali waits with bated breath: the festival of joy and splendor when scattered families come together to celebrate, unity is applauded, laughter is afoot, floral carpets brighten every frontyard, sumptuous Onam Sadyas are served and everyone celebrates without caste or religious differences…it is THE festival of Kerala, ten days long, here to dazzle and energize , and then leave with us waiting for the next Onam to arrive again….

My class' athapoo

For my foreign audience: Onam is the harvest festival of Kerala, celebrated with much fun and joy. Festivities include making floral patterns with flowers on the floor, putting up swings, family gatherings, traditional games, music and dance as well as boat races, school competitions and of course the Onam lunch, which I believe holds the Guinness record of being  the heaviest lunch put together. The Onam lunch is called “sadya” and is served on plantain leaves. Onam is THE festival of all Malayalis.)

Onam image showing "sadya"

Onam this year is already knocking down doors: the boat races are afoot, “sadya” preparations are going on, trains are jam-packed with Malayalis returning to spend Onam with their loved ones, colleges and schools are joining in the festivity with Athapoo (floral carpet making) competitions, the Government has done their yearly job of lighting up all the trees with light bulbs in the capital city Trivandrum, T.V channels are having the best time of their year with superstar-studded movies ready to rock the silverscreen…and the regular Malayali is all set for another four days of “THE FESTIVAL”.

athapoo at home

Onam is the festival where we celebrate plenitude and prosperity. Every Malayali gets gifted new clothes for Onam and it is with these fresh clothes and fresher minds that we start our celebrations.  This is what Wikipedia has to say about Onam:

Onam is an ancient festival which still survives in the Modern times. Kerala’s rice harvest festival and the festival of rain flowers which fell on the Malayalam month of Chingam celebrated the annual visit from pathalam (under world in Hindu myth) of King Maveli. Onam is unique since king Maveli is revered by people of Kerala from prehistory.

According to the legend, Kerala witnessed its golden era during the reign of King Mahabali. Everybody in the state was happy and prosperous and the king was highly regarded by his subjects. He was that much highly regarded among the subjects that even the Gods under Indra became jealous of Mahabali, they approached Mahavishnu claiming that Mahabali is now equivalent to an Indra. Since a world with two Indras represents imbalance, Mahavishnu assumed the form of a dwarf: the Vamana avatara and tricked him to Pathalam, the Underworld. However, as Mahabali is equal to an Indra, he is to wait until the next Yuga where he would be the Indra. In the meantime, with the grace of Mahavishnu, Mahabali visits his people on an annual basis. Mahavishnu serves Mahabali as a gatekeeper in the world of Pathalam as the Lord himself serves his greatest devotees.

It is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. People celebrate the festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well.

The rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form and spirit during the ten-day long festival. The most impressive part of Onam celebration is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.

Another enchanting feature of Onam is Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa. It is a colourful sight to watch the decorated boat oared by hundreds of boatmen amidst chanting of songs and cheering by spectators.

The ten days of Onam has already begun…and we are all set. Onam came to SCT college of Engg with much aplomb and razzmatazz with the final year students going out of their way to do the athapoo every day: we first years of course had our own inter-class competitions on the twentieth. Games and the traditional “chenda vaadyam” rocked the whole college, and there was of course, a sumptuous onam sadya….

An onam collage

Well, we’re back from College now to enjoy Onam with family….and this promises to be another beautiful, exciting Onam which will Dazzle as always….

Quoting the ancient and traditional Malayalam song in English (thanks to our Wikipedia again):

When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,

All the people had equality.
And people were joyful and merry;
They were all free from harm.
There was neither anxiety nor sickness,
Death of the children was never even heard of,
There were no lies,
There was neither theft nor deceit,
And no one was false in speech either.
Measures and weights were right;
No one cheated or wronged his neighbor.
When Maveli, our King, ruled the land,
All the people formed one casteless race.


I wish every Malayali a fantastic Onam of splendor and joy!


Off to College

"New starts"All right, blogosphere!

College starts tomorrow for me, and I don’t know what to expect. My besties are all in other colleges, (:() but there are still a few joining along with me in SCT college of engineering, and some of them are thankfully the same branch as me: the  coveted (and right now terrifying) branch called Electronics and Communication Engineering. (anyone EC here? tips, please!) EC may not be as EC (easy) as it sounds.

My humor sense has apparently deserted me, FYI, the ones who are rolling their eyes at the above pun thingy.

I joined today and have to say that the campus is much better looking than anyone could expect it to be. Although I have no means of getting to college, really, as the  college bus has wonderful reputation of attracting a terrific crowd of all kids from first to fourth years, and I do NOT want to travel on footboard, not with my penchant for trouble and inability to walk on a flat surface without falling down somehow (Pardon me if I sound like Bella here, it isn’t a comparison I would make deliberately as my followers would be well aware of. It’s the plain truth :I’ve broken two bones on my foot, torn two ligaments and ripped one tendon. Seriously. I should be in the Guiness book by now, if it weren’t for all those other damn people who break all 206 of these bone things)

Joining college is not going to be a damper to writing, I hope. I recently started working on a new book, yet unnamed, in hand-written manuscript form. Nevvie in my book reminds me of Sookie Stackhouse, so I’m taking a sabbathical from True Blood for  a while and starting Glass House, people say it’s good.

Still. I wonder how my new college mates will react to a paranormal blog writer.

No more uniforms, by the way. (Groan or hurray? Ask me in a few weeks when I won’t know what to wear)

Ciao for now.

(Will be on deviantart soon…Yayyyyy!)

Image credits:

Model: Iardacil stock on DA

Background: Superior Stock on DA (colored by me)

Brushes: Stephenie on Obsidian Dawn

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr (WL 4) Review

Back blurb:

Hunger for nourishment.

Hunger for touch.

Hunger to belong.

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.

Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.

Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in the penultimate volume of Melissa Marr’s New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series.

My Review:

This, is paranormal YA writing at its most intelligent, elegant, atmospheric form. A perfect blend of eerie atmosphere and graceful, poetic prose.  What I absolutely adored about Radiant Shadows (and every other Wicked Lovely book) is the eeriness and the darkness in the writing. There is no vulgarity, no unforgivably bad language, no too-fast skips from one character to another.  And of course, there is never the question of knowing the characters too well, as any one who has read the first few books would surely know.

I simply love Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, for its unpredictable awesomeness. Just when I was tearing out my hair wondering who the new protagonists would be, in Book 4 of the lovely Wicked Lovely series, she brought two people who were always in the background out in full regalia: Ani and Devlin have been mentioned in nearly all the previous books, but I love the fact that now we get to know so much more about the strange half-mortal half-fey girl whom Irial seems to consider family and the High Court’s seemingly cold and passionless assassin Devlin, brother to Reason and War. But it is not just Ani and Devlin that we learn so much more about in this amazing installment: Sorcha is not the Unchanging Queen without any emotional flux anymore. Seth’s arrival into her life has changed all that. Again, we get to know about Bananach, about deeper fey magic than before.

I continue to adore Seth and be impressed by Niall and Irial. Especially the former Dark King, Irial, still captivates me. There is something about him that’s new to the genre in a whole. Something amazingly fresh about his (and Ani’s, actually) characters that make him irresistible.

Ani, I liked better than Aislinn and Leslie, actually. She was braver, spunkier yet not so hardened or stoic that tragedies and losses don’t crush her. She is, as Devlin says, the most captivating faery. Devlin is another great character with shades that I would never have realized from the appearances he put on in the other book.

Radiant Shadows also brings out the strange and slightly sad relationship between Irial and Niall…which really makes me wish for Darkest Mercy. There’s not much of Aislinn or Keenan or Donia in the book, and the book does make some unexpected and very unusual turns.

I loved the near-end, with the well-described fight. I actually cared enough about the book that a BELOVED character’s near possible death is freaking me out. (If you are a WL fan and you haven’t read the fourth book yet, dump this now and go read)

I want Darkest Mercy NOW. Seriously.

Cover: always awesome, but doesn’t really compare to the first and third book.

Plot: why do I need to mention? I’ve said enough about awesomeness.

What I loved: EVERYTHING, including the Harper Collins book trailer available on the website. Except maybe some bits in between which I skipped because I was so eager to get to the next bit. Harmless little skips though.

What I hated: I  got a little annoyed with Seth’s slight departure from the calm, completely in control kind of character I’ve come to absolutely love…just a little annoyed.

Rating on 5 hearts : ♥♥♥♥♥